Client Story

Leading US utility

Transforming the utility customer experience amidst environmental challenges

Like many industries, utilities are embracing digital technologies to transform the customer experience and give businesses and consumers more insight into – and control over – how they use energy. However, this can be challenging with current regulatory mechanisms and long-embedded culture. We used our customer experience maturity model to enable a North American utility provider to design a strategy and roadmap that enabled it to take a customer centric approach to delivering value.

Key successes

  • Leveraged our online utility customer experience maturity model to engage employees across the organization
  • Utilized a prioritization engine to rank-order initiatives by value delivered and ease of delivery, providing the utility with greater business flexibility
  • Engaged 5,000 customers to think more creatively about evolving customer needs including exploring renewable energy resources and improving the digital experience
  • Used design thinking to develop the customer vision, business case and capabilities gaps

Achieving a bold new vision

Customers expect utility companies to provide reliable service, even in the face of natural disasters and environmental challenges. However, typically traditional utility business models are centered more around addressing regulatory requirements than meetings customers’ needs. In today’s world, customers want renewable energy sources and a digital experience that would increase their insight into—and control over—energy usage.

We worked with a North American utility that serves millions of customers across a vast territory with challenging environmental issues to transform its approach to customer service. The utility sought to create a strategic roadmap to achieve its vision. However, before we partnered with the utility, it had participated in several previous strategic planning initiatives that didn’t result in desired change. Thus, our transformation initiative needed to be both ambitious and executable and align all key functional units in support of change.

Re-imagining the utilities' operating model

Our diverse team, with expertise in customer experience strategy and digital transformation drew on our Customer 4.0 approach, where empowered and outcome-focused customers expect brands to fit into their universe. For utilities, this means re-imagining the operating model so the utility can cut across functional and structural boundaries, and be re-designed to align and enable the capabilities, processes, and technologies required to deliver value in new ways.

Using this insight, we guided the organization through our Customer Experience delivery model. The model outlines seven key dimensions of the utility customer experience: strategy, meter to cash, customer service, field operations, data analytics, new products and services, and foundational capabilities such as culture and IT.

We enabled the utility to think creatively about customers: Interacting with 5,000 customers, we aligned key customer groups by target outcomes, rather than using traditional segmentation methods.

Using design thinking to develop the customer vision

We also engaged employees from across the organization. We asked them to use our online utility customer experience maturity model to assess their current state and where they see the organization in the future. Through managed workshops with 100 stakeholders, they submitted 75 ideas for key initiatives which we considered and prioritized with executives. We used design thinking to develop the customer vision, business case and capabilities gaps. We leveraged a prioritization engine to rank-order initiatives by value delivered and ease of delivery, using results to finalize key initiatives, develop workstreams and create a roadmap. The engine can be used to enter new projects and align them against existing work, providing the utility with greater business flexibility.

The utility is now well-equipped to embark on its transformation journey and evolve its customer experience to its desired future state.

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